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Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2013 Aug;23(6):201-10. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2012.12.003. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Molecular imaging: the key to advancing cardiac stem cell therapy.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA; Department of Radiology, Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford, Stanford, CA 94305-5454, USA.


Cardiac stem cell therapy continues to hold promise for the treatment of ischemic heart disease despite the fact that early promising pre-clinical findings have yet to be translated into consistent clinical success. The latest human studies have collectively identified a pressing need to better understand stem cell behavior in humans and called for more incorporation of noninvasive imaging techniques into the design and evaluation of human stem cell therapy trials. This review discusses the various molecular imaging techniques validated to date for studying stem cells in living subjects, with a particular emphasis on their utilities in assessing the acute retention and the long-term survival of transplanted stem cells. These imaging techniques will be essential for advancing cardiac stem cell therapy by providing the means to both guide ongoing optimization and predict treatment response in humans.

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